Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Back in January, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) did a piece on the creation of a job within the Stark County Engineer's office (Mike Rehfus) called "Project Compliance Officer." (CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REFERENCED BLOG)

Local trade unions have labored (no pun intended) for some time to get the project compliance function actualized in Stark County. What is the function. To ensure that area contractors comply with Ohio's prevailing wage law.

In the January piece, The Report noted that first new Stark County Commissioner Pete Ferguson was against the creation of the position prior to taking office. Then he came around to be for it after being sworn in and he actually voted for it.

Stark County unions through their political action arms and through individual member campaign contributions, contributed at least $3,825 to the Ferguson campaign.

They had to be more than a little disappointed to hear that Ferguson, after being elected in November, 2008, let it be known that he was against creating the compliance officer position. Surely, the unionists would not have contributed to an avowed opponent of the "holy grail" of the American trade union movement: "prevailing wages!"

The Report would not be surprised if the organized labor contributors felt a bit, let's say "double crossed" by the then Commissioner-elect Ferguson. But he came around to the union point-of-view and all was again lovey-dovey when he took office.

Little did these hard working union folks know that they not seen all of Ferguson's act.

Lo and behold the coveted Project Compliance Officer job gets created out of Stark County Engineer funds. One can easily envision all the well-qualified union types lining up to apply for the position.

But there is a snag.

Apparently, Stark County Engineer Mike Rehfus was beside himself as to whom he might hire for the newly created position. Obviously, he didn't have very good lines of communication with the trades. But what a lucky man Engineer Rehfus was. (That's exactly has Rehfus expressed it to The Report in a one-on-one conversation on the topic)

Who should step forward to recommend a relative (his brother-in-law) for the job?

Doggone it, has The Report given away the answer?

Indeed. Yes, the recommender-in-chief was none other that Stark County Commissioner Pete Ferguson.

If The Report is right that the trades had to feel double crossed on Ferguson initially not supporting the creation of the project compliance classification; then don't you suppose that they might well have felt double-double crossed when Commissioner Ferguson's relative ended up getting the job?

But there is one consolation to the unions.

Stark County does now have a Project Compliance Officer.

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